Book cover of 'Remote: Office not required'

Remote: Office not required

#books / non-fiction · 4/5

Interesting book on why and how remote work can be a huge benefit for many companies and employees.

By Jason Fried and Daniel Heinemeier Hansson


Remote work is the future.

Remote work promotes quality of life. Do it your way, whatever works the best for you personally. Less time spent commuting. Good for both you and the environment.

Can be difficult for managers to not make sure everyone actually does their job, but in the end the only thing that matters is the shipped result, not how it got done. And if managers start believing in their workers—giving them the trust to work on their own—they will prove their managers right.

Instead of asking your workers what they did today, just ask them to show what they did. In many cases you can evaluate based on the progress, not the approach.

The job of a manager is not to herd cats, but to lead and verify the work.

“If you can’t let your employees work from home out of fear they’ll slack off without your supervision, you’re a babysitter, not a manager.” Remote work is then very likely the least of your problems; you shouldn’t hire people you don’t trust, or work for bosses who don’t trust you. If you’re not trusted to work remotely, why are you trusted to do anything at all?

If the company is full of people whom nobody trusts to make decisions without layers of managerial review, then the company is full of the wrong people.

With remote work comes a lot of freedom. You can explore the world as long as you—for many jobs—have a laptop and an internet connection. Something that most people dream of, instead of staying at their current miserable place, where nothing exciting is going on.

But there’s only so much time you can spend lying on the beach before that gets boring too (Alex: something I’ve noticed from my own travels). Most people want to work, as long as it’s stimulating and fulfilling, which remote possibilities certainly can help with. And if you’re stuck at a place that has no prospects of being either, you don’t need a remote position—you need a new job.

Remote work doesn’t require a day off in the case of blizzard storms, waiting for a delivery, a sick child that needs to be checked on once in a while, or whatever the world throws at you. You can keep working regardless.

Remote work doesn’t necessarily mean always working at home. You can still spend some time in the office; possibly in the afternoons or on certain days of the week. You can work from co-working spaces, from cafés, or from a beach, if that works for you. It’s a change of scenery, or at least a possibility of it, that’s what’s so great about remote work. Routine has a tendency to numb your creativity, so changing things up can do wonders.

Make sure you have a good work-life balance. A typical manager worries about their workers not getting enough done. A manager supervising remote workers will more likely have to worry about too much getting done. It’s easy to let your work blend in with your everyday life, especially if you’re working from home and don’t have a work routine.

Give remote work a real chance, or it’ll never work. It’s ok to start small, but make sure it’s meaningful.

Being a good writer is an essential part of being a good remote worker, since most arguments are settled over email or chats. Make sure to hire people that can properly express their thoughts in writing.

“In thirty years’ time, as technology moves forward even further, people are going to look back and wonder why offices ever existed.” — Richard Branson